Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Richard G Mark DDS
July 19, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Sometimes, looking at old pictures can really bring memories back to life. Just ask Stefani Germanotta—the pop diva better known as Lady Gaga. In one scene from the recent documentary Five Foot Two, as family members sort through headshots from her teen years, her father proclaims: "Here, this proves she had braces!"

"If I had kept that gap, then I would have even more problems with Madonna," Lady Gaga replies, referencing an ongoing feud between the two musical celebrities.

The photos of Gaga's teenage smile reveal that the singer of hits like "Born This Way" once had a noticeable gap (which dentists call a diastema) between her front teeth. This condition is common in children, but often becomes less conspicuous with age. It isn't necessarily a problem: Lots of well-known people have extra space in their smiles, including ex-football player and TV host Michael Strahan, actress Anna Paquin…and fellow pop superstar Madonna. It hasn't hurt any of their careers.

Yet others would prefer a smile without the gap. Fortunately, diastema in children is generally not difficult to fix. One of the easiest ways to do so is with traditional braces or clear aligners. These orthodontic appliances, usually worn for a period of months, can actually move the teeth into positions that look more pleasing in the smile and function better in the bite. For many people, orthodontic treatment is a part of their emergence from adolescence into adulthood.

Braces and aligners, along with other specialized orthodontic appliances, can also remedy many bite problems besides diastema. They can correct misaligned teeth and spacing irregularities, fix overbites and underbites, and take care of numerous other types of malocclusions (bite problems).

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids get screened for orthodontic problems at age 7. Even if an issue is found, most won't get treatment at this age—but in some instances, it's possible that early intervention can save a great deal of time, money and effort later. For example, while the jaw is still developing, its growth can be guided with special appliances that can make future orthodontic treatment go quicker and easier.

Yet orthodontics isn't just for children—adults can wear braces too! As long as teeth and gums are healthy, there's no upper age limit on orthodontic treatment. Instead of traditional silver braces, many adults choose tooth-colored braces or clear aligners to complement their more professional appearance.

So if your child is at the age where screening is recommended—or if you're unhappy with your own smile—ask us whether orthodontics could help. But if you get into a rivalry with Madonna…you're on your own.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”


Restoring chipped, stained or decayed teeth with dental porcelain is a tried and true method that’s been used for decades. In recent years, though, restorations made with composite resin have become a popular alternative.

Made of a plastic-based matrix with added glass filler, composite resin can be molded and bonded to teeth to replace missing structure with color to match. While they can’t be used for every problem situation, they’re an efficient and economical way to transform your smile.

Here are 4 advantages for using composite resin to restore moderately defective teeth.

They require very little tooth preparation. Crowns, veneers and other porcelain restorations require removing some healthy tooth structure to accommodate them. With the development of stronger bonding materials, composite resins can restore even many large defects in teeth caused by decay or trauma with little structural removal and still remain durable.

Most composite resin restorations are “single-visit” procedures. Unlike porcelain restorations, applying composite resin doesn’t require a dental lab, a process that can take multiple visits. In most cases, a skilled dentist can apply them during a single visit.

They have excellent color matching capabilities. We usually think of teeth as one single shade of white — actually, a single tooth can have varying gradations of color from the root to the tip. As mentioned before, composite resins can be prepared to match those color shades precisely, so your restored teeth look natural and blend well with your other teeth.

Composite resins can be an effective temporary fix for young injured teeth. Because children’s teeth are still developing, permanent restorations for traumatized teeth aren’t usually advisable until they’ve fully matured. Composite resin can be used to restore a young tooth’s form and function until it’s ready for a permanent solution.

If you would like more information on restoring teeth with composite resin, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin.”


Like other aspects of our lives, aging can take a toll on our smile. Over a lifetime the effects of disease, teeth wearing and the foods we eat can cause our teeth and gums to look unattractive.

Here are 3 of the most common age-related dental problems and how we can help you "turn back the clock" on each one.

Discoloration. Teeth can dull and grow darker over time. And not just from what we eat or drink—age-related structural changes in the tooth can also cause discoloration. We can often alleviate external staining temporarily with teeth whitening. If the staining is heavy or it originates inside the tooth, then we can install life-like porcelain veneers or crowns to cover the discoloration. We can also use composite dental materials to alter the color of one darkened tooth so that it doesn't stand out from the rest of your teeth.

Wearing. Our teeth naturally wear down over time. If the wearing is excessive, though, teeth can look shorter and less youthful. Again, we can use veneers or crowns to change a tooth's outward appearance and make them look longer. We can also employ enamel contouring and reshaping that smoothes out sharper edges caused by wearing to give your teeth a softer, more youthful look.

Receding gums. On the other end of the spectrum, gums that have shrunk back or receded from the teeth can make them look much larger and unattractive. Our first step is to treat any gum disease present—the most common cause of recession—which often helps the tissues to regenerate. If your case is more advanced, though, you may also need grafting surgery to restore lost gum tissue. Using in-depth microsurgical techniques, surgeons attach grafted gum tissue at the recession site. Over time new tissue will grow, restoring adequate gum coverage.

You can also improve your appearance at any age with orthodontics. Besides a more attractive smile, properly aligned teeth tend to wear more slowly and evenly. This and proper daily oral hygiene and regular dental care can keep your teeth looking younger even in your later years.

If you would like more information on gaining a more youthful smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Your Dentist can help you Look Younger.”

By Richard G Mark DDS
June 11, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: gum disease  

Nearly half of the U.S. population has some form of periodontal (gum) disease, yet many people are unaware that they even have a gum-diseaseproblem! This is largely because the early signs of gum disease aren't dramatic, making them easy to overlook. Fortunately, your Independence, MO, dentist, Dr. Richard Mark, can spot the early signs of gum disease during your regular checkups and recommend the appropriate treatment options!


Brushing is a bloody experience

Bleeding after brushing is a major warning sign of gingivitis (i.e. the earliest, mildest stage of gum disease). If you have gingivitis, your gums may bleed easily, look a little puffy, and feel a bit sore. You may not actually see blood, but you will likely notice a coppery taste in your mouth, or notice that your toothbrush bristles are pink.


You're spending a lot on mouthwash and breath mints

Is your breath bad no matter how much mouthwash you use or how often you pop a breath mint in your mouth? If so, the problem could be an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth due to gum disease. It's never a good idea to ignore bad breath, as it can also be caused by certain medical diseases and conditions.


Your teeth look longer

Receding gum tissue, a common sign of gum disease, can make your teeth look a little longer. Treating gum disease can stop the recession. If you've lost a significant amount of tissue, you may benefit from gum grafts to restore the normal appearance of your gums.


Your mouth hurts

Red, swollen gums can cause eating and drinking to become painful experiences. If your receding gums expose your roots, you may experience sensitivity when you consume sugary, hot, or cold foods/drinks.


Your gums aren't firmly attached to your teeth

As periodontal disease progresses, your gums may pull away from your teeth, thus causing deep pockets to form. These cavities then provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can destroy gum tissue, bone, and ligaments.


Your teeth or dentures are loose

Severe gum disease can loosen teeth or change the way your dentures fit. Prompt treatment can help you avoid tooth loss. If you've already lost teeth, your Independence dentist can restore your missing teeth with bridges, dentures or dental implants.


Give us a call!

Have you noticed any of these changes in your gums? If so, call your Independence, MO, dentist, Dr. Richard Mark, at (816) 461-3660 to schedule your appointment!

By Richard G Mark DDS
May 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

The fastest and most effective solution for a whiter smile is professional teeth whitening.

You’re sick and tired of feeling embarrassed by your smile for something as small as dental stains and yet having a yellow smile seriously Teeth-Whiteningimpacts your confidence. Maybe you hide your smile in photos or feel awkward talking to colleagues. Luckily, our Independence, MO, cosmetic dentist Dr. Richard Mark has a simple solution: teeth whitening. Put down those at-home whitening strips and find out how a dental professional can help.

Here’s how teeth whitening works…

Your teeth are made out of a harder outer layer known as enamel and an inner layer known as dentin, both of which protect the teeth. However, if you smoke or eat certain dark foods or drinks such as red wine, coffee, or dark foods like berries all of these habits over time can develop a film over your teeth. While visiting your Independence, MO, dentist every six months for cleanings can help remove this film, sometimes if this layer is allowed to remain on teeth for years it can lead to some pretty serious stains that a simple brushing just can’t completely remove.

If you are dealing with this type of stain then professional teeth whitening will be able to remove those stains and give you the whiter smile you’ve been looking for. Enamel is porous, but our teeth whitening system has the ability to target and break up these stain molecules. Peroxide is the main ingredient responsible for not only breaking up these stains but also making the outer layer of your teeth brighter.

Here are your teeth whitening options…

Getting professional teeth whitening will help you achieve results faster and more effectively. No matter whether you want to whiten from the comfort of your own home or from our office, we have the whitening treatment for you. If you are in a hurry and want visible results in about one hour then our in-office whitening system is the best option for you. At-home whitening can also give you amazing results in about 1-2 weeks of continued use with the convenience of being able to whiten from your very own home.

If you want to get a whiter smile in Independence, MO, then it’s time to call our office and let us know. We would be happy to schedule a consultation with our dentist to make sure that teeth whitening is the right cosmetic treatment to meet your smile needs.